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Obama’s Afghanistan waffle

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By Michelle Malkin  •  September 22, 2009 09:49 AM

Bill Roggio reports on the consequences of Obama’s Afghanistan waffle:

Within 24 hours of the leak of the Afghanistan assessment to The Washington Post, General Stanley McChrystal’s team fired its second shot across the bow of the Obama administration. According to McClatchy, military officers close to General McChrystal said he is prepared to resign if he isn’t given sufficient resources (read “troops”) to implement a change of direction in Afghanistan…

…Today, the military is perceiving that the administration is punting the question of a troop increase in Afghanistan, and the military is even questioning the administration’s commitment to succeed in Afghanistan. The leaking of the assessment and the report that McChrystal would resign if he is not given what is needed to succeed constitute some very public pushback against the administration’s waffling on Afghanistan.

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The Washington Post blasts the wavering, too:

IT WAS ONLY last March 27 that President Obama outlined in a major speech what he called “a comprehensive new strategy for Afghanistan” that, he added, “marks the conclusion of a careful policy review.” That strategy unambiguously stated that the United States would prevent the return of a Taliban government and “enhance the military, governance and economic capacity” of the country. We strongly supported the president’s conclusion that those goals were essential to preventing another attack on the United States by al-Qaeda and its extremist allies.

So it was a little startling to hear Mr. Obama suggest in several televised interviews on Sunday that he had second thoughts. “We are in the process of working through that strategy,” said on CNN.” The first question is … are we pursuing the right strategy?” On NBC he said, “if supporting the Afghan national government and building capacity for their army and securing certain provinces advances that strategy” of defeating al-Qaeda, “then we’ll move forward. But if it doesn’t, then I’m not interested in just being in Afghanistan for the sake of being in Afghanistan.”

…It’s hard to see, however, how Mr. Obama can refute the analysis he offered last March. “If the Afghan government falls to the Taliban or allows al-Qaeda to go unchallenged,” he said then, “that country will again be a base for terrorists who want to kill as many of our people as they possibly can.” Afghanistan, he continued, “is inextricably linked to the future of its neighbor, Pakistan,” where al-Qaeda and the Taliban now aim at seizing control of a state that possesses nuclear weapons. Moreover, Mr. Obama said, “a return to Taliban rule would condemn their country to brutal governance . . . and the denial of basic human rights to the Afghan people — especially women and girls.”

“To succeed, we and our friends and allies must reverse the Taliban’s gains, and promote a more capable and accountable Afghan government,” Mr. Obama concluded. As Gen. McChrystal’s report makes very clear, keeping faith with that goal will require more troops, more resources and years of patience. Yet to break with it would both dishonor and endanger this country. As the president put it, “the world cannot afford the price that will come due if Afghanistan slides back into chaos.”

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